Sign up for a library card today

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association and libraries nationwide join together to everyone that signing up for a library card is the first step toward academic achievement and lifelong learning. A library card is a ticket to free educational resources and activities in addition to library materials. According to author and educator, Jim Trelease, “it costs nothing to read to a child. A public library card is a ticket to the richest entertainment a child’s mind is ever going to have.”

A library card also provides access to a variety of digital media, including eBooks. Recent figures show more than 93 percent of public libraries offer eBooks and other digital content.

The observance was launched in 1987 to meet the challenge of then Secretary of Education William J. Bennett who said “Let’s have a national campaign … every child should obtain a library card — and use it.” Since then, thousands of public and school libraries join each fall in a national effort to ensure every child does just that.

When most people think “library” they think books. And while that is true, these days books take different shapes, such as e-books and audio books. Libraries also offer people free access to a wealth of information that they often can’t find elsewhere, whether online, in print or in person. Whether they’re looking for DVDs or the latest best-seller; health or business information found on internet databases not accessible at home, or going for story times and community programming, the library is a center of community for millions of people. Libraries also connect people to people. They are safe havens for kids when school is not in session, many offer after-school homework help, games and book clubs or computer classes.

Libraries level the playing field. As great democratic institutions, libraries serve people of every age, income level, ethnicity or physical ability, and provide a full range of information resources needed to live, learn, govern and work. Librarians are advocates for your right to read and your right to reader privacy.

Libraries are places for community engagement, a platform for great minds to come together. The way people are using our libraries is changing as fast as technology is changing society. Increasingly, libraries are becoming a place for creation and collaboration. If you haven’t been to your local library lately, September is a great time for a visit.